Media Refuses to Report that Many Immigration Opponents are Left-Wing Environmentalists

tree hugger

The media likes to portray critics of immigration reform as bigoted tea partyers who are afraid an influx of foreigners will ruin their white privileged-based country. That narrative is grossly unfair and simplistic, but it makes for titillating reporting.

What much of the media refuses to report is that many immigration opponents are left-wingers who want to limit (or “stabilize”) America’s population growth as a way of protecting the environment.

High Country News reports:

Today a number of population stabilization groups are as committed as ever to stopping comprehensive immigration reform. They oppose bills like the one that passed in the Senate last year that would provide amnesty to 12 million undocumented people in this country and streamline the path to citizenship.

Washington DC-based NumbersUSA – a pro-stabilization group that has 1.5 million people on its email list and almost 800,000 Facebook fans – blitzed senators with phone calls and faxes during President George W. Bush’s 2007 push for immigration reform, which failed. The group has been cited as a key player in grassroots campaigning during last year’s battles of immigration reform as well.

The left-wing nature of immigration opposition makes many progressives – including those in the media – ill at ease, partly because they value diversity and don’t want to run the risk of being portrayed as anti-minority.

“They don’t feel comfortable with the idea of telling poor people from overseas they can’t come here and make another life,” says Colorado State University professor Phil Cafaro, who just authored a book that makes a “progressive” case against immigration.

“(Advocating for population stabilization) makes it sound like you don’t want brown-skinned people here. It might put you in bed with strange bedfellows like Tom Tancredo,” Cafaro tells High Country News.

Some progressives also downplay the environmentalists’ opposition to immigration on the grounds that it doesn’t make logical sense. After all, they argue, immigration doesn’t change the number of people on the planet, only where they live.

But Cafaro says that argument overlooks the fact that “when you move people from Mexico or Vietnam to the United States, they and their descendants generate much more (emissions and waste). When you turn someone from a Guatemalan into an American, you’re increasing the overall stress on the environment.”

It’s unlikely the mainstream media will pay any attention to the progressive critics of the federal government’s push for amnesty. Media workers are too heavily invested in portraying tea party supporters as extremists, and the GOP as the new, anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party.

But that doesn’t negate the “inconvenient truth” that some on the left want to stop illegal immigration as much as those on the right.



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